Euro parliament ‘an institution where facts are secondary’

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The Hungarian prime minister has poured scorn on the European parliament describing it as place where “liberal, left wing and Green MEPs bellow at each other with bulging veins” and as an institution where facts are “secondary”.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Mr Orban’s disparaging remarks on the European parliament come a week before the institution debates the state of democracy in Hungary Photo: AFP/GETTY

By , Warsaw

2:59PM BST 08 Apr 2013

Viktor Orban also claimed MEPs “hated us although they hadn’t the slightest idea what they were talking about.”

Hungarians think debate is based on a sober, matter-of-fact, the-other-person-may-be-right logic, but the European Parliament is not a European place,” Mr Orban said, during a radio interview. “Facts are secondary.”

Mr Orban’s disparaging remarks on the European parliament come a week before the institution debates the state of democracy in Hungary. The Central European country has faced severe criticism from the EU and other European bodies over a series of contentious laws and changes to the constitution, which, critics claim, undermine democracy.

In response the Hungarian government has mounted an unabashed defence, accusing the EU of meddling in the affairs of a sovereign state, and lambasting critics over their apparent ignorance of Hungarian affairs. The government has also argued that its policies have strengthened democracy rather than weakening it.

But Mr Orban’s description of the European parliament drew a stinging response from Rebecca Harms, co-president of the Greens/European Free Alliance group in the parliament.

“The comments by Viktor Orban on the European Parliament are both ironic and a confirmation of his continual lurch away from democratic norms,” she said. “The concept of democratic debate and parliamentary scrutiny seems sadly lost on the Hungarian prime minister, who has used his parliamentary supermajority to push through reforms restricting basic democratic freedoms.

During the radio interview Mr Orban also claimed the EU was angry with Hungary over a controversial banking tax that had been bitterly opposed by European banks. The prime minister said Brussels and Hungary’s “enemies” were unhappy because “there was a lack of profits in their pockets” owing to the tax, and they would do anything to get the tax reduced.

“We’ll see to what degree this way of thinking will infect Brussels,” he said.


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